Richard Charles Hillman was a character in Coronation Street from Ep 5060 - 20 Jun 2001 to Ep 5460 - 14 Mar 2003, and one of the most famous villains in the show's history. Richard was a financial advisor who became the third husband to Gail Platt and during his tenure he struggled with money troubles, and was involved in killing ex-wife Patricia Hillman and neighbour Maxine Peacock, as well as leaving business partner Duggie Ferguson to die after he fell down a stair shaft. During his reign of terror, Richard also tried to murder his mother-in-law Audrey Roberts and elderly neighbour Emily Bishop during his desperate attempts to solve his money issues.
When Gail began to suss out Richard was up to no good, he confessed to his crimes. Having now been exposed for his heinous crimes, an unstable Richard attempt to kill Gail, her children Sarah and David Platt and granddaughter Bethany by driving them into a canal in a murder suicide bid, however only Richard perished in the incident after he drowned. But if Maxine Peacock had taken Hillman's advice and stayed at the party, she'd still be alive.
Richard left a mark on the Platts lives forever and would be referenced to many times over the years following his death.
He was played by Brian Capron.
Richard Charles Hillman was born in December 1951 to Mr. Hillman and Pamela Hillman. When Richard was young his father abandoned him and his mother for another woman. Richard was close to his older cousin Alma Halliwell but they later lost contact as their mothers fell out over a family quarrel. In 1971 Richard married a woman named Marion but ended up caring for his mother who had fallen ill and started suffering dementia. Marion wanted children and not to look after a sick old woman, and divorced Richard. After his mother Pamela died, Richard went onto marrying Patricia and they went into business together. But Richard discovered he was unable to provide children, so he and Patricia ended up divorcing as well.
There has been no info to contradict what Richard said about being Alma's cousin so it is highly likely he was telling the truth, seeing as he knew a lot about her, and how their mothers were sisters. He said he found out about her death in the paper.
In 2001 Richard Hillman turned up at Alma Baldwin's funeral claiming to be her cousin. He said he read about her death in the paper. He says their mothers fell out over a family feud.
He quickly befriends Gail Platt, eventually forming a romantic relationship with her. Richard moves in with her, winning over her children David Platt and Sarah Louise Platt. Norris Cole was suspicious of Richard after he learns that Richard was responsible for several elderly people losing their savings. One time Richard even threatened to kill Norris if he kept sticking his beak in to spice up his own drab life. Richard went into business with Duggie Ferguson. Duggie had a block of flats constructed.
Hillman confronts Duggie at an under construction block of flats during a disagreement about Duggie's shoddy workmanship. During the argument, Duggie falls several floors when a banister gives way (ironically, due to his own shoddy workmanship). Duggie is critically injured and Richard leaves him to die, opportunistically allowing the incident to remove his unwanted business partner. He panics at first, whipping out his mobile and dialing emergency services. However, he only dials '99' before stopping, then he goes to Duggie's flat to steal the cash Duggie stored there.
In May 2002, Richard's ex-wife, Patricia, inconveniently turns up as Richard finalises his and Gail's wedding plans. As she was moving to Australia, Patricia wants to cash in her directorship of Kellett Holdings, Richard's property company. Patricia owns 20% of Kellett Holdings, which Richard finally persuades her is worth £25,000. He agrees to hand over the cheque at his Oakhill flats development, where they fight as Richard stalls on the money due to the cost of underpinning work. In the ensuing argument and struggle, Patricia falls into the underpinning trench and Richard hit her in the face with a spade, killing her instantly. The next day, her body is covered in tons of cement for the underpinnings. Gail and Richard are married on 26 July 2002.
Hillman's antics spiralled out of control and he tried to kill Audrey Roberts to get his hands on her £250'000. His next target was Emily Bishop. In January 2003 he wanted to try and kill her when there was a party going on at The Rovers for Doreen Heavey, the mother of Maxine Peacock. Emily was babysitting at Maxine's house. As he was about to kosh her over the head with a crowbar, he was stopped by Maxine. A shocked Maxine said "Richard!! What are you doing?" Richard replies with "You should have stayed at the party Maxine" - which is one of the most unintentionally funny lines ever. Hillman's evil schemes are exposed and he goes on the run as he is the most wanted man in Britain.
He returns in March 2003 and kidnaps Gail, Sarah, Bethany and David. He wants to kill them all and himself in a suicide pact. He drives into a local canal. David, Sarah, Bethany and Gail are rescued but Richard Hillman has drowned. Gail identifies his body at the canal side. His reign of terror is over.
Despite his death, the legacy of Richard still cast a dark shadow over the Platt family for years to come.
In 2006 David began sending cards to his family addressed from Richard as part of a sick joke. This sent Gail over the edge where she had to start taking medication, and suspicion fell upon several neighbours such as Gail's enemy Eileen Grimshaw and even Gail herself. David was unveiled as the culprit and showed fear at the thought of being arrested. But in the end Gail decided not to push the matter further.
In October 2007 David returned to the spot where Richard tried to kill him and his family, and drove into the canal but lead his family to think he killed himself. He even played the same music Richard did all these years ago.
On the fifth anniversary of Richard's death in March 2008 David pushed Gail down the stairs, although this had no relation to Richard and was merely a coincidence.
In 2013 David revealed to his wife Kylie that he had been suffering nightmares of Richard, showing that he still cast a dark shadow over the family even 10 years on after his death.
Despite Richard's misdeeds and his horrific crimes, sometimes David would sarcastically bring Richard up in a jokey way, especially when making fun of the ridiculous amount of ex-husbands Gail has.
In 2017, Richard's step granddaughter Bethany said how she heard of his victim Maxine Peacock when her and Craig Tinker were sat on Maxine's Bench.
In 2018, Gail was contacted by Richard through the use of a psychic medium, 15 years since his death. This medium was Rosemary Piper. She claimed that Richard had left a curse on Gail's family, hence the reason she has had so much bad luck since his demise.
- Brian Capron had previously appeared in the show in the 1980s as social worker Don Worthington.
- The Richard Hillman storyline was voted and featured in Channel 4's 100 Greatest Scariest Moments in 2003, ranking at 32nd place.
- In 2010 Brian Capron appeared in the Coronation Street DVD Spin-off Knight's Tale in which a boatman named Dickie strongly resembled Richard Hillman, causing discomfort to Norris Cole. A lot of humorous in-jokes were made, especially with Dickie's love for the water and that he had a cousin in Manchester, implying he is a possible relative of Richard.
- It seems very likely that Richard and Alma were cousins and he used this as part of his con to fleece her friends of money. A very small chance he was making it up but very unlikely. Richard seemed very knowledgeable about Alma, and said their mothers were sisters so it seems he was being truthful. Also when Richard's devious motives were revealed, the cousin connection was never disputed so it is safe to say they were cousins.
- Richard's story was depicted in a character biography book Norman Bates with a Briefcase: The story of Richard Hillman by Glenda Young, which also includes a foreword by Brian Capron.
Appearances: 20 June 2001–14 March 2003
Birth: 20 December 1951
Death: 14 March 2003 (Age 51)
Cousins: Alma Baldwin (Very likely, but it may have been part of his con)